Piotr Szymanski studied physics at Warsaw University, and went on to complete a PhD in experimental particle physics at the Institute for Nuclear Studies in Swierk, Poland. He worked as a research associate at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK and the J-W Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main, Germany as well as a Staff Member at the European Organization for Particle Physics (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. He holds a habilitation in physics and is the author or co-author of more than 200 scientific papers in various fields of particle physics. He was also Head of the Department for Interdisciplinary Applications of Physics at the Institute for Nuclear Studies in Swierk, Poland.

Dr. Szymanski was Director of Nuclear Safeguards at the European Commission in Luxembourg, which is responsible for the verification and inspection of the non-diversion of nuclear materials at all civil nuclear installations within the European Union.

Nominated JRC Director on 1 July 2016, he leads the Directorate for Energy, Transport and Climate. The Directorate brings together about 350 staff based in Petten, Ispra and Seville.